Bacteria Reproduction

Bacteria Reproduction
Jessica Harwood
Douglas Wilkin, Ph.D.
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Jessica Harwood
Douglas Wilkin, Ph.D.
Douglas Wilkin, Ph.D.
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Printed: April 11, 2015
Doris Kraus, Ph.D.
Niamh Gray-Wilson
Jean Brainard, Ph.D.
Sarah Johnson
Jane Willan
Corliss Karasov
Chapter 1. Bacteria Reproduction
Bacteria Reproduction
• Define asexual reproduction.
• Describe the process of binary fission.
• Compare conjugation, transformation, and transduction.
How can bacteria reproduce so rapidly?
Bacteria can divide very rapidly. This image is of a growing colony of E. coli bacteria. In the right environment, a
single E. coli can divide to form a colony of hundreds of bacteria in just a few hours.
Bacteria Reproduction
Bacteria, being single-celled prokaryotic organisms, do not have a male or female version. Bacteria reproduce
asexually. In asexual reproduction, the "parent" produces a genetically identical copy of itself.
Binary Fission
Bacteria reproduce through a process called binary fission. During binary fission, the chromosome copies itself,
forming two genetically identical copies. Then, the cell enlarges and divides into two new daughter cells. The two
daughter cells are identical to the parent cell. Binary fission can happen very rapidly. Some species of bacteria can
double their population in less than ten minutes!
Exchanging DNA
Sexual reproduction does not occur in bacteria. But not all new bacteria are clones. This is because bacteria can
acquire new DNA. This process occurs in three different ways:
1. Conjugation: In conjugation, DNA passes through an extension on the surface of one bacterium and travels
to another bacterium ( Figure 1.1). Bacteria essential exchange DNA via conjugation.
2. Transformation: In transformation, bacteria pick up pieces of DNA from their environment.
3. Transduction: In transduction, viruses that infect bacteria carry DNA from one bacterium to another.
Bacteria can exchange small segments
of DNA through conjugation. Notice two
bacterial cells are attached by a short extension. DNA can be exchanged through
this extension.
• Bacteria reproduce by binary fission, resulting in two daughter cells identical to the parent cell.
• Bacteria can exchange DNA through the processes of conjugation, transformation, or transduction.
Explore More
Use the resources below to answer the questions that follow.
Explore More I
• Binary Fission at
1. Define binary fission.
2. During replication, what is the relationship between the bacterial chromosome and the plasma membrane?
3. When do the daughter cells separate?
Explore More II
• Asexual Reproduction at (1:03)
Chapter 1. Bacteria Reproduction
Click image to the left or use the URL below.
1. There are approximately 7 billion humans on the planet. How long would it take some bacteria to make 7
billion copies of themselves?
Describe how bacteria reproduce?
How do bacteria exchange DNA?
What is binary fission?
What is transformation involving bacteria?
1. Watcharee Saisongkorh, Catherine Robert, Bernard La Scola, Didier Raoult, Jean-Marc Rolain/Public Library
of Science. Conjugation in bacteria . CC BY 2.5